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Exhibitions/ The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I

The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I

At The Met Fifth Avenue
October 7, 2019–January 5, 2020

Exhibition Catalogue

This lavish catalogue is the first to examine the singular masterworks that were commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I.

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Exhibition Overview

The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I examines the profound significance of European armor at the dawn of the Renaissance, through the lens of Emperor Maximilian I's (1459–1519) remarkable life. On view only at The Met, The Last Knight coincides with the five-hundredth anniversary of Maximilian's death, and is the most ambitious North American loan exhibition of European arms and armor in decades. Including 180 objects selected from some thirty public and private collections in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, The Last Knight will explore how Maximilian's unparalleled passion for the trappings and ideals of knighthood served his boundless worldly ambitions, imaginative stratagems, and resolute efforts to forge a lasting personal and family legacy.

This exhibition features many works of art on view outside Europe for the first time, including Maximilian's own sumptuous armors that highlight his patronage of the greatest European armorers of his age, as well as related manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, glass, tapestry, and toys, all of which emphasize the emperor's dynastic ambitions and the centrality of chivalry at the imperial court and beyond.

Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide.

Featured Media


"A remarkable array of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, tapestry, stained glass and related art places the armor in a stirring biographical and artistic context. . . . these manifold riches invite multiple visits."—Wall Street Journal

The exhibition is made possible by Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.

Additional support is provided by Alice Cary Brown and W.L. Lyons Brown, the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, Kathleen and Laird Landmann, Marica and Jan Vilcek, and Christian and Florence Levett.

The exhibition is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The catalogue is made possible by the Grancsay Fund, The Carl Otto von Kienbusch Memorial Fund, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

The Primer


The Primer is a new digital feature that sets the stage for selected exhibitions before you go.
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Audio Guide

Drama, genius, triumph, and celebration: experience the exceptional life and legacy of Emperor Maximilian I through the Audio Guide.


Dürer's Monumental Arch of Honor

On view in the exhibition, the Arch of Honor is one of the largest prints ever produced. Learn more about the remarkable paper monument Dürer created for Emperor Maximilian I.

Come See Dürer at The Met!

Etching of the side-view of a rhinoceros, by Albrecht Durer.

This fall, the Museum celebrates Dürer by showing his prints in four exhibitions at The Met Fifth Avenue. In this blog post, curator Freyda Spira shows you where to find them.



Unhorse Your Foe! Knightly Tournament Games from Medieval Europe

Two armored knights engaging in foot combat in an arena before a crowd of onlookers.Let's take a look at four of the most popular games and sports that knights and other noblemen used to play. From the #MetKids blog.



Exhibition Objects

Lorenz Helmschmid (German, first recorded 1467, died 1516). Field Armor of Maximilian I (detail), 1480. Steel, copper alloy, and leather. Sallet: Private Collection, New York; all other armor elements: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Imperial Armoury